Stone Stochasticity Project “Your Father Smelt of Elderberries”

stone_elderberries_bottleBrewer: Stone Brewing, Escondido, CA
Style: Elderberry Ale
ABV: 10.3%
IBUs: Unlisted

Description: This beer is part of Stone’s Stochasticity series, a limited-release series that celebrates “exotic notions, ingredients and ideas”. Named in honor of the classic line from Monty Python’s and the Holy Grail, this beer is brewed in the medieval English-style, using 2-Row Pale, Mild Ale, and Amber malts, as well as peated and flaked oats. It is then bittered using English, Golding and Target hops, and then fortified with elderberries.

Tasting Notes: This was definitely an interesting concept, and one which I fell for like a total sucker! And the experimentation was certainly there in spades! Basically, you have the elements of a barley wine, some whiskey-like flavor, and an ancient ale all mixed into one. While it’s not exactly for the faint of heart (some serious alcoholic punch here!) it does get top points for being interesting and inspired!

Appearance: Reddish/brown, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Strong malt, cassis, blackberries, alcohol, peat, smoke
Taste: Coarse malt, alcohol, peat moss, notes of cassis and blackberries 
Aftertaste: Lingering coarse malt, alcoholic bite, peat and fruit flavor
Overall: 8.5/10

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Dieu du Ciel Solstice d’hiver

Dieuduciel_solsticehiver_verreBrewer: Brasserie Dieu du Ciel, Montreal, QC
Style: Barley Wine
ABV: 10.2%
IBUs: Unlisted

Description: This beer is part of the brewery’s Momentum Series, which is an annual cycle of twelve seasonal releases. As their winter release, this traditional English-style barley-wine style ale celebrates the winter solstice with a winter warmer.

Tasting Notes: I’m a fan of barley wine, and I considered trying the Solstice d’hiver necessary having sampled the Solstice d’ete not that long ago. But I have to say this particular barley wine was too on the coarse and strong side for me. It’s got the usual notes of dark fruit and sugars and is a shade of brown so deep and opaque that it could easily pass for a stout. But the alcohol in this beer is so potent that it overpowers just about everything else.

Appearance: Dark brown, translucent, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Dark malt, raisins, dates, sugars, strong alcoholic bite
Taste: Strong, coarse malt, hints of dates and raisins, brown sugar, alcoholic bite
Aftertaste: Lingering coarse malt and alcoholic bite
Overall: 7.5/10

Dieu du Ciel Herbe à Détourne New World Triple

Dieuduciel_HerbeDetourneBrewer: Brasserie Dieu du Ciel, Montreal, QC
Style: Triple Ale
ABV: 10.2%
IBUs: Unlisted

Description: This beer is part of Dieu du Ciel’s Rotation series, a limited-release that is available from January to April. As the name suggests, it is a North American take on the traditional Belgian Tripel, combining American Citra hops with pale malt and Belgian yeast. The beer takes its name from the French Canadian legend of the Herbe à Détourne, which makes one lose their way should they happen upon it.

Tasting Notes: Quite the powerful triple! This beer has a rich malt base and the telltale flavor of candi sugar to boot! This leads to a rich and coarse malt flavor, a yeasty backbone, and some serious alcoholic warmth to finish. The addition of Citra hops also imparts a nice citrus twist.

Appearance: Golden orange, cloudy with sediment, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Rich malt, candi sugar, strong yeasts, alcoholic bite, citrus
Taste: Strong, coarse malt, sugars, yeasty effervescence, citrus, alcoholic warmth
Aftertaste: Lingering coarse malt, sugars, and alcoholic bitterness
Overall: 9/10

Driftwood Latus 2016 Sour Ale

Driftwood_LatusBrewer: Driftwood Brewing, Victoria, BC
Style: Flanders Red
ABV: 6.8%
IBUs: Unlisted

Description: Latus is Driftwood’s latest relaunch, this time of the beer that launched their Bird of Prey series. Superior Pilsen, Cara 33, Cara 120, Cara Pils, Aromatic Malts, and is then bittered using Hersbrucker Hallertauer hops. And of course, this is then fermented using wild lactobacillus yeast and aged in American and French oak barrels for a year.

Tasting Notes: This was my favorite of the Bird of Prey of series. It is also the beer that started my love affair with sours, which has turned a bit (ahem!) sour of late. So I was quite pleased to see they brought it back. Much like its original incantation, this beer packs a lot of sour cherry, plums and apricot flavor into the mix, as well as a discernible oaky flavor that is reminiscent of a robust red wine. It was a bit lighter than I remember (and possibly lower in alcohol content), but still very appetizing!

Appearance: Deep crimson/brown, opaque, good foam retention and carbonation 
Nose: Rich malt, yeast sour cherries, orchard fruit, oak and red wine tannin
Taste: Sour fruit, cherries, plums, apricots, yeasty effervescence, oak and red wine flavor
Aftertaste: Lingering tartness and sour fruit flavor, yeasty spice
Overall: 9/10

Category 12 Dry-Hopped Sour

c12-bottle-shot-DryHoppedSour-20160608-ABrewer: Category 12 Brewing,
Style: Sour
ABV: 5%
IBUs: 14

Description: The latest in C12’s Elemental Series, this limited summer release is soured with a Lactobacillus culture and then fermented with Saccharomyces Trois wild yeast. It is then dry-hopped using new German hop varieties Mandarina Bavaria and Huell Melon for balance.

Tasting Notes: This is definitely a summer seasonal, since it calls to mind backyard lemonade, made from squeezed lemons and ice water. It is quite mild and clean, but just like unsweetened lemonade, it has has some serious tartness that somehow manage to slake your thirst. Add to that a yeasty backbone which brings the lactic acid, and some mild notes of tropical fruit, and you’ve this experimental ale.

Appearance: Light yellow, cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Gentle malt, yeasty, dry, tart, melon, lemony nose
Taste: Mild malt, immediate acidity, tart lemon, yeast and lactic acid
Aftertaste: Lingering lemon and yeasty flavor
Overall: 8/10

Phillips Atomic Buffalo Smokey Red Saison

phillips_atomic-buffaloBrewer: Phillips Brewing, Victoria, BC
Style: Saison/Smoked Ale
ABV: 6.2%
IBUs: Unlisted

Description: The Smokey Red is one of Phillips four seasonal releases for summer 2016. It is brewed in the style of Saison farmhouse ale, combining smoked pale red and wheat malts with a mild hopping, and then fermenting the mix with Belgian yeast.

Tasting Notes: Lately, I’ve been complaining about the plethora of Saisons and Sours that are out there. And so I was a bit hesitant to sample this one. But i have to say I enjoyed the combination. A red malt base is always a delight, and the subtle notes of smoke and Saison yeast play nicely off each other, alternating between mild smokiness and spiciness.

Appearance: Deep red, cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Rich malt, baked bread, smoked meat, Belgian yeast
Taste: Smooth malt base, mild sweetness and tang, hint of smoke, yeast spice
Aftertaste: Lingering yeast, malt flavor, mild smokiness
Overall: 7.8/10

P49 ¡Orale! Tequila Gose

P49!ORALE!_500x500Brewer: Parallel 49 Brewing, Vancouver, BC
Style: Gose
ABV: 4.5%
IBUs: 6

Description: This rarity from P49 takes the traditional Gose –  a beer native to Leipzig, Germany that combines wheat and barley malt malt with sea salt – and then builds on it by aging it in Tequila barrels for 9 months. This combination alludes to tequila shots, complete with a salt lick and a squeeze of lime!

Tasting Notes: This brew does what it sets out to do, which is to allude to the ritual of  Tequila shots. However, this is not a drinking experience that I was ever fond of, so I really didn’t like it in this beer. It is light and somewhat refreshing, but its weak malt is paired with some strong sour flavors – yeast and lime juice – and a hint of salt. This makes for some unappetizing flavor, in my opinion, sad to say.

Appearance: Light blonde, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Mild malt, hint of citrus, tequila nose, quite sour
Taste: Weak wheat malt, hint of salt, notes of sour lime, tequila flavor
Aftertaste: Lingering sour yeast and citrus flavor, wheat malt aftertaste
Overall: 6.5/10